Bongani Mdakane | 8th October 2023
The Black Business Council (BBC) has accused some non-government organisations of sabotaging black businesses, thereby subverting the government’s transformation project, and acting as gatekeepers in the business industry.
The organisations singled out for resisting transformation include the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), Coronation Fund Managers, Corruption Watch, Institute of Race Relations (IRR), and Budget Justice Coalition. They are also described as entities subverting black progress.
BBC president Elias Monage this week said it was concerning that the NGOs associated with big businesses were allegedly interfering with processes of the Public Procurement Bill, seeking to subvert its objectives and intentions.
These claims come after the BBC submitted and commented on the Public Procurement Bill currently tabled before parliament, whose purpose is to create a single piece of national legislation to regulate public procurement, including preferential procurement policy.
In May, the Public Procurement Bill was introduced in parliament. However, there has been disputes between businesses and NGOs on how it should be implemented to benefit everyone in the country, with “white NGOs accused of using overt tactics to subvert transformation”.
Monage in an interview with Sunday World said his organisation was concerned about the negative attitude displayed by the NGOs, arguing they are hell-bent on interfering with the processes as a trick to subvert transformation.
“We have a challenge in this country where NGOs are being funded by big white-owned businesses to oppose transformation. As BBC we stand firm that we cannot allow the situation where there are people hell-bent to opposing transformation in the business space.
“In this country we are sitting on a ticking time bomb, as the rich are ring-fencing their wealth, shutting out the poor from the wealth of this country.
“The same wealthy people are enjoying protection they get from NGOs such Outa, Coronation Fund Managers, Corruption Watch, Institute of Race Relations and Budget Justice Coalition. Black businesses are suffering because of racism being dished out by white-owned companies. NGOs are being funded by white businesses to oppose anything that has to do with transformation,” said Monage.
“These NGOs are accustomed to seeing black people live in squalor while they prosper on the other side. The big question is, why are these NGOs meddling with government procurement processes?
.“I have a sense that they are being used to oppose anything that has to do with transformation. The constitution is clear about the need to address the imbalances of the past, and to achieve this objective, we need legislation to facilitate a process of procurement. Without such legislation, black businesses will be excluded from participating in the economy.
“The white-owned companies use their financial muscle to fund these NGOs, and thereafter encourage them to oppose anything that has to do with transformation,” said Monage.
“We cannot keep quiet while we are suppressed and bullied by these NGOs funded by white monopoly capital.”
However, spokesperson of IRR Hermann Pretorius hit back, describing the BBC as “a lobby group for wealthy tenderpreneurs who use their race and their government connections to enrich themselves”.
“Transformation is the tool they use to gain access to lucrative government contracts, allowing them to siphon off taxpayer money at the expense of the poor.
“The IRR is against this kind of transformation. It is crony capitalists trying everything in their power to rig the system in their favour.
“The transformation rhetoric is how they try to protect their privileges. This is why they like to accuse those who oppose them of being ‘anti-transformation’.
“The BBC’s comments betray the nervousness of those who fear a genuine competition for government contracts, where value for money rather than political connections or the colour of a person’s skin wins the day.
At the time of going to print other organisations, Outa, Budget Justice Coalition, Coronation Fund Managers and Corruption Watch, had not responded to our queries.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.